Five criteria for ethical business communication

Do you need anything to understand ethical behavior? Michael Josephson believes that ethical behavior has four principles: honesty, integrity, fairness, and caring for others. You can think of these four basic principles as the legs of an imaginary stool. A missing leg produces trembling feces, but the absence of two legs causes the feces to collapse. If you are unfair or concerned, your pride in honesty and integrity is meaningless.

Business ethical behavior

Recently, ethical business practices have always been the focus of attention. Looking back at last year's incident, it seems that the words "business" and "moral" are contradictory. Whether you look at Wall Street, mortgage companies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or private companies like AIG, don't worry that all mortgage companies will be questioned because of suspicious business practices. This news is frustrating. The 1980 ode to "Greed is good" seems to have never really disappeared.

The criminal transactions of top entrepreneurs have been neglected, which should inspire others to be more ethical. However, in fact, it is usually an excuse for not changing bad behavior. When your manager uses the company's phone for personal long distance calls, what harm does it take to use your company's PC for personal business? When employees understand how company management manages itself, they begin to be ashamed of any small, rash behavior they may promise.

Managers may inadvertently signal that they will tolerate unethical behavior when they put pressure on smaller, downsized employees to generate more. Ethical behavior may be eliminated when employees feel compelled to achieve company goals in any way possible.

The message they get is: “As long as you achieve your goals, you can be dishonest.” As the economy takes us on a roller coaster, we need to evaluate our own mindset to make sure we don’t let ourselves fall into immoral behavior just because we look at it. We can easily escape it. There is always room for improvement in your business communications.

These are the five guidelines that help you communicate ethically [Source: "Business Communication, Processes and Products", Mary Ellen Guffy, 2000]:

[1] Tell the truth. Statements that are misleading or untrue should never be published. It is not ethical to tell some truth or exaggerate.

[2] Be sure to mark comments as comments. Don't try to convince anyone that the facts you sincerely believe are true. Do the work; thoroughly study and assure yourself that you are not just representing another person.

[3] Do not show prejudice. Knowing your own subject beliefs may be reflected in your writing. Even if you are passionate about your point of view, ethics requires you to stay calm in your speech.

[4] Your communication should be easy to understand. You should clearly express your thoughts so that they are easy to understand. Make sure readers can easily understand what you are writing. Don't use complicated sentences and various incomprehensible industry terms to confuse waters.

[5] The source of your message. Don't copy anyone's work. Most people have basic knowledge, and if they use a direct reference from another writer, they must use quotes. There are many people who don't understand the idea that they need to trust others properly. If you translate a sentence and put in a new vocabulary without trusting the author, you are still cheating.


In the long run, you must not only communicate ethically to succeed, but it is also morally correct. Make sure you act in a way that you want others to follow. If you handle your business in an ethical manner and succeed, others will follow your needs.

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